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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Summer Reading List 2013

by Ken Newquist / July 7, 2013
Cover art for Jack Campbell's Beyond the Frontier: Guardian.

My Summer 2013 Reading List, like 2012 before it, is a space opera/military SF heavy list. I keep waiting get tired of space opera -- after all, this particular jags been going on for several years now -- but instead I find myself seeking out new books in the genre. That's not to say I'm not branching out at all; I have a smattering of fantasy novels in the list, and my graphic novel segment nicely covers horror, but at the end of the day starships battling one another for galactic dominance rule my list.

And it's a big list. There are 16 books on the list, with nine print books, two audio books, and five graphic novels. The graphic novels are fast reads, but I have them here for completeness' sake. You can keep track of my progress via GoodReads.

Eight print books is a lot to read in a summer, but I have a secret weapon: a two week vacation to Lake Champlain.

Books

  • Guardian (The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier #3) by Jack Campbell (GoodReads) The first two novels on my list are sequels to books I've been reading for the last few summers. Guardian a military SF/space opera novel in which legendary hero "Black Jack" Geary, who returned from near-death in the Lost Fleet series to save his intergalactic homeland, must now combat a series of internal and alien threats. There's too much back story to quickly sum up; suffice it to say this is the 8th book in a long-but-good series.
  • Abaddon's Gate by James S.A. Corey (GoodReads) The thid book in Corey's Expanse series sees Jim Holden, captain of the captured Martian gunship Rocinante, investigating an alien artifact near Venus. The first two books were great Solar System-based space opera tinged with horror; I expect the same from book #3.
  • With the Lightnings by David Drake (GoodReads)
    This book's been described as Aubrey/Mautrin in space. Patrick O'Brian's novels of 19th century naval combat are favorites of mine, so I had to add this to my reading list. Even better, I was able to try it for free by downloading it from the Baen Free Library.
  • Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon (GoodReads)
    Kylara Vatta's dreams of a brilliant military career were ruined by one well-intentioned wrong decision; instead she goes to work for her family's shipping company. Her first mission: captain a ship destined for the scrapyard.
  • On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington) by David Weber (GoodReads) Old school military SF clearly inspired by British naval traditions. I read Weber's In Death Ground and The Shiva Option two years ago as part of my 2011 Summer Reading list
  • Conventions of War (Dread Empire's Fall) by Walter Jon Williams (GoodReads)
    The final book in the Dread Empire's Fall trilogy sees forces loyal to an ancient (and brutal) galaxy-spanning empire trying to defeat even more tyrannical rebels. I read the first two books at the tail end of last summer.
  • The Bowl of Heaven by Gregory Benford, Larry Niven (GoodReads)
    A "giant object in space" book in which one of humanity's first intersteller starships encounters a huge hempisphere (aka "The Bowl") surrounding a star. I started reading it in Winter 2013 and hope to finish it this summer.
  • The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson (GoodReads)
    The Mistborn trilogy continues as the protagonists of Book 1 realize that the evil, oppressive Lord Ruler of the Final Empire might not have been the greatest danger to their world.
  • The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson (GoodReads)
    The concluding book to the Mistborn trilogy.

Audio Books

  • The Lost Stars: Tarnished Knight by Jack Campbell (GoodReads | Audible)
    "Black Jack" Geary decimated the Syndic empire during The Lost Fleet series. The Lost Stars looks at the after effects of that war as the former Syndic system of Midway tries to throw off the yoke of the central bureaucracy.
  • The Guns of Avalon by Roger Zelazny (GoodReads | Audible)
    The second book of Zelazny's original Amber trilogy finds his antihero Corwin plotting revenge and dealing with the effects of a death curse unleashed in Book 1.

Graphic Novels

One of the long standing elements of my annual summer vacation to Lake Champlain is Mike Mignola's Hellboy and B.P.R.D. series. Mignola's supernatural tales make for perfect campfire reading, and I always make sure to take a few of the books with me. This year my vacation's two weeks rather than the typical one, so I've doubled my B.P.R.D quota.